Tuesday 21 July 2020

Top Tips For Encouraging Kids To Clean Their Teeth

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Whilst we are pretty relaxed in our family, adopting a more "gentle parenting" lifestyle and allowing the kids to make some of their own choices and decisions, there a few things that in our home that are non negotiable and one of those is teeth brushing! When it comes to brushing our teeth it is something I have encouraged the kids to get involved with before they even had teeth, in fact there first trip to the dentist was before any teeth had come through too! But I do think that has helped as now both kids will clean their teeth happily and actually bicker over who gets to sit in the chair at the dentist first!!

But I know for some, when it comes to brushing their teeth some kids just do not like to do it. It can be a source of frustration for parents as they battle to get teeth brushing done and a stressful situation for kids who resist it. This can of course be for many reasons but today I am sharing some of my top tips (and things that have worked for us personally) in encouraging the kids to clean their teeth without fuss. 

Let your child choose their own brush

Getting the kids involved in making decisions always seems to be a bit of a winner, so letting them choose their own toothbrush is a great place to start. You can get all different kinds of brushes now including manual or electric brushes, brushes that light us and even brushes that are decorated with kids favourite characters such as Disney or Barbie etc. Since most kids toothbrushes come with a recommend age bracket it is worth seeking out a few choices first, then allowing them to choose from these rather than the whole shelf as we all know they will probably pick the one that isn't suitable.

Find a toothpaste you are all happy with

Just like toothbrushes there seems to be a whole range of different toothpastes on the market right now from minty ones to fruity ones aimed at kids. Whilst the fruity (we even spotted a glittery one!) toothpastes are tempting we found that once they had used the sweet tasting fruity tooth pastes it was then really hard for them to get used to using a minty toothpaste. Instead we found that using a minty toothpaste we were all happy with from the get go was a much better solution for us all. Obviously this may be a case of trial and error, but we recently found the Colgate total whitening toothpaste was a good fit for us all as the minty flavour is enough to leave your mouth feeling refreshed but not too over powering for the kids to use too.

Make regular visits to the dentist

Trips to the dentist are a vital part of keeping our teeth and mouths healthy and that is just as important for kids as it is us grown ups. In fact many dentists will actively encourage you to bring your children along either with you or on their own appointment once they can sit up. It is a good experience for them to come along and get used to the dentist, the smell, sounds and the room etc which will make it feel normal and not overwhelming or scary as they grow. Most dentists are happy for children to come along and they will even have a feel of their gums and let them sit in the chair etc as they want children to be comfortable and happy during their visit just as much as you do. The Dental Parlour is a leading dental clinic based in Coventry who are experts when dealing with children's dental needs for example. 

Let them watch you

Kids learn from watching us, older siblings and their friends so it makes sense that letting them watch you clean your teeth as part of your normal daily routine helps kids mimic the brushing too. You could even suggest you switch and they brush your teeth whilst you brush theirs making it more fun and providing a little distraction as well. Try not to make a huge deal out of it but just make it part of your normal routine, prompting them to join you at the sink and clean their teeth with you. You could even try kneeling down to their level and let them watch you and copy you, this works with older brothers or sisters too as younger siblings often look up to older siblings and love to copy their actions.   

Use a timer or fun app

Technology is increasingly become more and more part of our lives and whilst many of us will have a love hate relationship with it where our kids are concerned, it can actually come in handy if your child is reluctant to brush their teeth. There are many handy toothbrushing apps now where kids can have a go at brushing teeth and solving different dental issues with fun characters etc showing them that it can be a fun activity. There are also apps which sing songs or do funny actions providing a distraction for kids whilst brushing and also acting as a timer too. Of course if you want to try and avoid using apps or technology all together you could purchase a brushing timer which can be picked up for a few pounds online giving your kids a guideline as to how long they need to brush for. 

Do your kids happily clean their teeth or do you have issues with encouraging them to do it? I would love to hear your tips on what works for you at home with your little ones in the comments below. 


**This is a collaborative post. The product was gifted by Colgate, however all views and opinions are my own.**

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